Happy Holidays 1999! ! !

We sure have missed seeing all our loved ones this year, but you’re never far from our thoughts. Isn’t it strange that we’re turning over to the year 2000? When I was little, I remember thinking how far away it seemed and how old I’d be. And here it is. Wow!

We had a great vacation this year. It’s funny, I never knew how important to a family taking a vacation was. Eating up those highway miles sure does force togetherness. I’ll never fly and waste those precious moments again. We did an East Coast nostalgia tour this summer. Funk has always wanted me to see where he went to college, so our first stop was Theil College. It is a great little ethnic town in Pennsylvania. Everything looked wonderful to him except his Frat House, which is in ruins. We had to pull him back from the brink of depression after seeing that, lest we leave him there so as not to take us down with him. From there we went to all Funk’s childhood homes in West Virginia and to my favorite place in the whole world so far, Brushy Fork. This is where my brother Steve moved to in the early 70’s to live off the land. I visited one summer and never left until I felt guilty about leaving my parents alone in God-forsaken Florida to fend for themselves. I quickly got over that and moved back six months later. But it’s been 15 years since the last time we were there. You know how you can build a place up in your head when you haven’t been there for a long time? Well, I fully expected to find it homely – instead, it was more beautiful than I remembered. Funk’s first words were that it looked like paradise and mine were that we had made an awful mistake by leaving. When I voiced my sentiments, Funk’s paradise turned into, “Gloria, I’ve spent my whole life trying to leave West Virginia – not trying to come back.” Can you imagine the closeness we shared burning up the rest of those highway miles all the way to New Jersey fighting about how paradise can quickly turn into a hell you’d never want to move back to? Fortunately, Funk realized his horrible ways and said he’d buy me some land there, just as soon as we have a spare twenty-five grand.

From West Virginia we went on to New York City. We had such a fabulous time there. As my dear friend Teri said, NYC can make you feel as though you can accomplish anything. We all wanted to move there instantly. Screw Brushy Fork. We’ll buy some land there and visit on the weekends. Next we visited my childhood friends in Bethpage, most of whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years. They were like my family then, and it was wonderful to see how easily it was to pick up where we left off. I love them so much. Screw NYC, now we’re moving back to Long Island!

There were many stops along the way; all in all we were gone about two weeks. For now, we’re staying put in Kansas City. Who would’ve thought we end up as Midwesterner’s?

Our children are doing wonderfully. Tara is a full-fledged teenager now, much preferring to be with her friends than with her family. So far, I’m letting her be a traitor. My reward is that she’ll still lie in bed with me and read at the end of the day, but only if she doesn’t have to touch any part of my body. Can you believe that? She drank from these empty vessels that were once called breasts and now she can’t stand the thought of brushing our legs together. I feel so ugly and used.

Andrew too is deserting me. I am no longer allowed to hold hands or kiss him in public. And sitting on my lap is a rare occurrence. But he too will lie in bed with me at night and will still snuggle close. I’m aware that it’s fading, so I’m treasuring every moment of it. Like his sister, Andrew is taking dance with Alvin Ailey. Both of them are great dancers and seem to really enjoy all the work that it involves and their instructor, Tyrone, whom I just found out is also from Long Island. I knew I liked that guy.

Luckily for me, Funk doesn’t mind brushing legs with me. No Viagra for that man! He is almost finished with his Ph.D. Or better yet, he has until September to complete it. It’s been seven years of Sundays the kids and I have given up being without him and we’re not willing to miss another one past that time. My payback for this ultimatum is that I get to be a slave for the rest of the year. I’m doing most of his research; all he has left to do is write the damn thing. I keep telling him, “stop reading and just start writing. Write anything; no one’s going to read it anyway. If you want to produce a work of art, do it the next go round, after the kids have left the nest.” So far, he can’t bring himself to do C work. He may need that Viagra by the time I get done with him.

Well I guess that’s all I have to say. We wish you a wonderful and exciting new millenium. See you next year.


Gloria, Mark Tara and Andrew Squitiro Funkhouser15 West 57th TerraceKansas City, Missouri 64113816-444-3627

To my favorite friends in the whole world,

Every year I send out a newsletter, but I wanted to add on to the one I’m sending you. Donna is going to help with this part too.

I am so in-love again! I know that sounds corny, but I mean it in all sincerity; I love you guys to pieces. It was so great to be with you and to meet your beautiful families. You guys really did a good job of picking your mates; they seem to be perfect matches.

You probably don’t know how important you were in my life. You really were like a family to me. You must feel the same, as it was so easy to be with you after all these years. You’ll probably find this dreadful . . . but I’m back. I’m not going to let so many years go by before getting us together again. I can hear the groans, but I know you really love to hate this togetherness.

Some of the highlights for me:

Did you know I really never realized the twins were twins? I know we always called them “the twins” but they were always two very separate people to me. Dennis seems very much the same, gregarious as always, though he complained the minute I saw him about this forced togetherness. We all know he likes us being together now, just as he did then. He just has to pretend we mean nothing to him.

Donald changed. He found his voice. I remember him being so silent. But I guess he’s loved chatting for a long time now, as no one seemed to remember him ever being silent.

My Jim. I just adore you. You are the dearest man. I love your wife too; she seems as gentle as you are. You are by far the easiest man to talk to.

Freddie! You always could make me laugh. Coming in you looked like a deer in headlights, I was so surprised you were nervous, but it was so funny that you were. It is my favorite memory of the day. I smile every time I think of you. Please write to me about your baby.

ALICE! I love you. I remember why we were best friends – you made me. You can make anyone do anything. I loved being with you again. OK, OK – I’ll say it. You were my favorite person to see. Angela, how do you live like this? I guess you were blessed with the fountain of youth and stamina. I vote you the least wrinkly person amongst us. But I’m a close second!

Donna. You are my sister. Whether you want one or not, bitch. And Kevin, my dear brother, I’m glad you mended your ways. How easily one forgets who’s an almost brother. And to all the Gorman’s. I DID NOT, I REPEAT DID NOT, BREAK THE SHOWER! ! ! AT LEAST NOT ON PURPOSE. DO YOU REALIZE I COULD’VE GOTTEN KILLED IN THERE? WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION?!!!

BettyAnne, you’re still a dollface. Next time I come, the girls are going away for the weekend first.

Little Kevin Fowler. You are still one of the nicest men I have ever known.

Laura, Laura, Laura. You have done well for yourself. You married the sweetest man and produced the cutest daughter.

To those I didn’t know as well, Shari, Gene, Mitzi and all the rest of you that my feeble 40+ mind can’t remember at the moment, thank you so much for coming.

Jim Weaver. You made it! Unlike some of the other ingrates like, Frank, Bill, Judy, Carol and Bryan, just to name a few. For all of those I say to you, “where the hell were you? Do we mean nothing to you?” You missed a really good time.

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